Josiah's Reviews > The Burning White

The Burning White by Brent Weeks
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it was amazing
bookshelves: fantasy, best-of-2019

I've mentioned some of my opinions in the previous books of this series that at times this series feels like a trilogy stretched out into five books (which it was) in less-than-ideal ways. If all of that, however, was necessary for the build-up to this book, I've come to the conclusion that the stretching was more than worthwhile at the end of the day.

Let's dig into what makes this book work so well.

One of the best things I love about Weeks is the unpredictability of his plots. Particularly with the various players on the "good side" in this book and the different difficult choices the protagonists had to make, I constantly felt held-in-suspense about what was going to happen in the book, and Weeks did a rather stellar job in keeping us guessing about what was going to happen next. The last half of this book is some of the best fiction I've read and once this book gets going, it really gets going.

Thematically, this story was also stellar. Because not only do people have to make difficult choices in this book, but they have to experience the actual consequences for the bad choices they made in previous books. And dang it if you don't feel those consequences. Weeks' slow unraveling of the entire immoral system that's been at the center of many of these books was absolutely splendid and was a large part of what made this book work for me. Combine that with some great symbolic allusions to Dante's Purgatorio and I was rather set for everything this book was going for thematically.

At this point, however, I get to something that, by a number of reviews here (and from what I expected after reading the book) was the rather controversial point in the book. So let's get into spoiler territory to talk about how this book handles Orholam.

(view spoiler)

Aside from my few complaints on that front, however, the rest of this book truly was glorious. Even with my quibbles about his fate, Andross has become one of my favorite characters in modern epic fantasy due to his complexity, and his orchestrations in this book were truly masterful to watch. And that final game of Ten Kings really was a sight to see.

One part epic fantasy, one part political intrigue, one part spy novel, and one part theodicy, The Burning White really is like few other books out there. And I am left very much looking forward to seeing where Weeks goes next after this series.

Rating: 4.5 Stars (Excellent).
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
November 3, 2019 – Finished Reading
November 22, 2019 – Shelved
November 22, 2019 – Shelved as: fantasy
January 11, 2020 – Shelved as: best-of-2019

Comments Showing 1-1 of 1 (1 new)

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Autumn You very nicely summed up most of my thoughts on the book. The only place I disagree is that I felt Andross' ending was justified. I think he thought that since he was always acting for the greater good, the ends justified the means, and so he neither had any reason to seek redemption for past sins nor did he have reason going forward to be the bad guy.

(view spoiler)


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